Ian Klopper, SAWDN team leader, said:
At 12h44, Wednesday, 17 June, SA Whale Disentanglement Network (SAWDN) volunteers launched from Kommetjie with NSRI (National Sea Rescue Institute) Kommetjie duty crew aboard the NSRI Kommetjie sea rescue craft Spirit of the Vines and IL Batello following reports from fishermen of a whale entangled in fishing rope lines with a floatation buoy attached to the trailing fishing lines off-shore of Scarborough.
Additional SAWDN volunteers in Hout Bay and NSRI Hout Bay duty crew were placed on alert.
NSRI coastwatchers in the area were tasked to keep a look-out and to monitor the whales location.
On arrival on the scene following a brief search the whale was located 2 nautical miles South of Scarborough, 1 nautical mile off-shore.
The adult Humpback whale had freedom of movement but was found to be entangled in fishing line rope with a single wrap of fishing line rope around the tail that had additional fishing line ropes with a floatation buoy and fishing gear attached to fishing line rope that was dragging behind the whale.
Our SAWDN team attached a kegging buoy onto the the fishing line rope that was dragging behind the whale in a successful effort to slow down the whales movements.
Using the SAWDN specialised cutting equipment the trailing line was cut 2 to 3 meters behind the whale and the fishing line rope wrap that was around the tail fell free.
The whale swam away after being freed from all of the fishing line ropes and fishing gear.
The fishing line ropes, floatation buoy and fishing gear was recovered onto the NSRI sea rescue craft.
The operation, from arrival on the scene to cutting and recovering all fishing rope and fishing gear, lasted 20 minutes.
The whale appeared to be healthy and was swimmingly strongly.
SAWDN are confident that this operation has been successful.
The operation completed at 14h14.
The South African Whale Disentanglement Network (SAWDN) was established in 2006 in order to manage entangled whales using specialized equipment and is comprised of trained volunteers from the – National Sea Rescue Institute, Telkom Maritime Radio Services, KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board, Department of Environmental Affairs, Forestry and Fisheries, Centre for Sustainable Oceans at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Nature, Mammal Research Institute, South African National Parks, South African Police Service, Cape Nature, Bayworld, various Boat Based Whale Watching and Shark Cage Diving Operators, the Rock Lobster Industry and the Octopus Industry and fully supported by the Dolphin Action and Protection Group.
SAWDN COVERS THE ENTIRE SA COASTLINE
Whales assisted to date: 202